Oooh, floppy circuit boards!
Bet they're a bugger to hardware debug...
Researchers in China have developed flexible submersible robots that experts say might one day help humans reveal the secrets to unexplored depths of the Earth's vast oceans. Using flexible materials such as silicone, embedded and distributed electronic controls, and a bio-mimicking propulsions system, Zhejiang University …
It's not exactly fast though, swimming at roughly 5cm per second.
If I haven't mislaid one of those pesky decimal points, that's 3m (10 feet in American) per minute -- about the speed of a teenager reluctantly mowing a lawn. Probably good enough for government work as the saying goes.
Also, they don't always want to move far or fast because they want to stop and look at stuff. Just look at how far the Mars rovers move per day. On the other hand, as mentioned in the article, currents will affect it, something the Mars rovers don't have to worry about. On the gripping hand, if it does get swept away by a current, what the problem? We know almost nothing about what goes on at those depths so one place is going to be just as interesting as any other, just so long as it's possible to keep track of where it is.
Cool idea for sure, if it's used to research the deep deeps. Something makes me think that anything clever developed by Chinese researchers on Chinese soil can be appropriated by the military at will. So, next time, maybe instead of a hack of Exchange servers, a swarm of floppy deep sea robots might be chewing up trans-ocean fibre routes?
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